A Reverence for Life is small book that provides a short, yet wonderful insight into the life and thoughts of one of our great humanitarians. Albert Schweitzer was a theologian, a doctor, a musician, an author, and he won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1952: all notable achievements; however, I believe that his greatest achievement was not for himself, it was for humanity as a whole, in both his actions and with his words.
Albert set up his own rudimentary hospital in Africa and spent many years tirelessly helping the sick and infirm. He used his own funds and the assistance of friends to set up and run his hospital and, even when in ill health himself, he was dedicated to lessen the suffering of other human beings.
In addition to humans, Albert also became a champion for Mother Nature, advocating for the humane treatment of animals of all kinds. Congruent to his words, Albert went so far as to create a compound to care for orphaned monkeys. It was Albert’s belief that, “A man is ethical only when life, as such, is sacred to him, that of plants and animals as that of his fellow men, and when he devotes himself helpfully to all life that is in need of help.”
When we look at human potential through the lens of what we contribute to the world, how we act in service to others and how we encourage others to be the best they can be, I can think of very few people who exemplify these qualities more than Albert Schweitzer.
This small book is only a very basic overview of Dr. Schweitzer’s life, but it is enough for people who aren’t aware of his contributions to humanity and, in my mind, it shares the most important message of Albert’s life, “Man can no longer live his life for himself alone. We realize that all life is valuable and that we are united to all this life. From this knowledge comes our spiritual relationship to the universe.”